Friday, July 27, 2012

Batman and Bane Have a Conversation

In all seriousness, I loved the movie.  I thought Bane's voice worked really well, even.  He was menacing, intimidating, and the filter they put over his voice reminded me of Darth Vader, so that worked well.  The movie had it's flaws--the overall motivation of the villains doesn't quite make sense--but all in all it was as lean as it could possibly be, fantastic performances all around, and it was definitely a fitting end to the series, in my opinion.

But I just couldn't resist making this comic.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: PROMETHEUS Part 2

Read part 1 of my review here.

When last we met to discuss this movie, I had written many words and had not really gotten to the start of the plot.  I had problems right from the start with the way characters were introduced and characterized.  I also had problems with the way certain plot points were introduced to the audience.  However, I also mentioned that this is a movie that should be applauded for its aspirations.  Today we’re gonna get more into the actual nitty gritty.  The biggest thing that I’ll be focusing on is character behaviors in service of the plot.

With that said, let’s dive into my long delayed part II of my review.

The crew gathers together and is debriefed by the head of the corporation, and funder for this particular mission, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce in really old man make-up).  You have to wonder why Guy Pearce was cast in this role.  The make-up is okay--certainly better than the make-up at the end of Deathly Hallows, but...I can still tell it’s a young guy in old man make-up.  If you do a little bit of extra research, there was a viral marketing campaign set up online where Weyland, has a biography profile special, gives a TED talk, and all kinds of things, all as a young Weyland.  Just to note: you will never see young Weyland in the film, which returns to the question: why Guy Pearce?

Weyland, or rather a hologram of Weyland, reveals that he actually died before the expedition began and has recorded this hologram to explain as a contingency plan.  He introduces himself and David, whom he calls “like the son I never had.”  I wouldn’t bring this up, but it ties into something much later that I want to mention.  He explains that they’re looking for their creators, the originators of life on Earth, the “Engineers.”  Most of the crew are skeptical, the archaeologists defend their ideas, and everyone gets distracted when they get to the planet and stand around in amazement for a while.  It’s an Earth-like planet light years away from our solar system.  The visuals here are very impressive, and the score is fittingly epic and beautiful.  This is another moment where the film slows down and lets you bathe in the atmosphere (bad-dum TSH!).  

A scan reveals a mountain that’s hollow inside and the crew lands to check it out.

While down in the hole, Holloway decides that, since the atmosphere underground is almost exactly like Earth’s, it’s safe to take off his space helmet.  This is one of those things that you can shrug off, but as the guys from Red Letter Media pointed out, WHAT ABOUT DEADLY ALIEN MICROBES?  Just because the atmosphere is fine, doesn’t mean that there aren’t alien diseases that you don’t have to worry about.  Even if this is the future, we can’t possibly know about all of the diseases in the universe, you moron.

Meanwhile, David has been tasked by someone to leave the group and PRESS ALL OF THE BUTTONS.  In doing so, he accidentally activates hologram security footage of the previous inhabitants of this planet sprinting down the halls.  They’re clearly fleeing something dangerous.  The hologram leads them to a decapitated specimen of the very race they’ve been coming to look for.  David does his button touching thing, despite his colleagues frantically shouting at him to NOT DO THAT, and they find the alien's head on the other side of a closed door.  Inside this new room, there is a massive stone humanoid head and a bunch of urn-looking things.  

Between the dead alien, the creepy holograms, the weird stone head carving, this is all too much for Punk Rock Geologist, and he wants to head back.  Since no one’s looking at rocks, which is apparently all he cares about, he wants to go back to the ship.  Despite the alien being dead--decapitated, in fact--for more than 2,000 years, Punk Rock Geologist is terrified of it.  He’s not the only one, though.  Southern Vaguely Effeminate Biologist is also terrified, and they high-tail it back to the ship.

I guess I can maybe see the geologist getting scared.  He is a geologist.  His specialty is rocks, and unless those rocks collapse on him, there’s not a lot of danger of them killing him.  But the BIOLOGIST?  Isn’t this EXACTLY what he should be interested in?  Shouldn’t he want to examine this bizarre foreign species?

Meanwhile, the urns start leaking weird black goo stuff a little, but no one notices, except David, that is.  He steals an urn because...hell, I don’t know, he thinks it’s full of chocolate syrup?  Makes as much sense as anything else really.  Just then, everyone receives word that a big ass storm is coming that will chop them into little bits unless they high-tail it back to the ship.

This action scene is done pretty well, even if it does feel like it was thrown in there mostly because we haven’t really had an action sequence yet.  The visual effects of the storm are cool, especially the overhead shot of everyone trying to outrun the massive cloud.  

It’s only when they get back inside the ship that they realize that Biologist and Geologist didn’t come back with them.  Instead, they’ve gotten lost in the caves and are now trapped in there until the storm passes.  One quibble: when they first entered the caves, Punk Rock Geologist sent out little flying robot balls to begin making a holographic 3D map of all of the tunnels in the cave, which they beamed back to the ship.  Since Biologist and Geologist were in constant communication with the did they get lost again?  Oh, right, because the plot says so. 

It’s at this point that you should be hearing the chords to Jonathan Coulton’s “Redshirt” playing in your head because you can practically smell how dead they are.  It reeks of horror movie convention.

So, anyway, they wind up back in the room with the urns, but the black stuff has bubbled out a lot more at this point.  They stop to rest when a weird phallus shaped alien pops up out of the goo.

Remember how they were terrified of a centuries dead alien?  Suddenly, THE PLOT demands that Biologist be curious and inquisitive.  He starts creeping closer to it.  It opens flaps itself open, looking very similar to the frill-like things on the dinosaur from Jurassic Park that kills Melvin.  Does this give him pause, since any biologist worth his salt would know that opening frills is a sign of aggression--like a dog growling or a snake rattling its tail?  Nope, his reaction is, “OMG, I wanna pet it!”

No...seriously.  He tries to pet it.  It kills him.

Geologist, while trying to help his buddy, gets sprayed in the face with some acid stuff--also like the dinosaur from Jurassic Park--and falls face first into the black goo.

As I said...redshirts.

Meanwhile, back on the ship, they try to reanimate the alien’s head with electricity to study it.  I think it was to map its brain patterns or something.  That works for all of 30 seconds, then the alien’s head explodes.  So much for your amazing discovery.  Didn’t that seem like an incredibly risky operation to perform on a once-in-a-lifetime scientific find?  They also find the alien’s DNA is an EXACT MATCH FOR OUR DNA, which obviously PROVES THAT THEY CREATED US!

Wait...then why were they 8 foot tall bald albino bodybuilders?  And how does that prove anything of the sort?

Meanwhile, David plays with his stolen souvenir, digs out some black goo, and sneaks it into Holloway’s drink.  Why?  Good question.  We don’t really get any answers.  I can tell you my wife’s theory a little later on.

Holloway tries to get David to join him for a drink, but David refuses, saying, “It wouldn’t do me much good.”  Sure...except that they clearly show you eating some kind of oatmeal type food at the beginning of the movie while everyone else is in stasis sleep.  That’s not keeping up appearances--there’s no one around to see it.  It clearly won’t gum up your workings.  So...why not have a glass with Holloway?  It would make you look less suspicious--because you might as well have a sign over your head saying ‘THERE’S SOMETHING BAD IN THIS GLASS AND I WANT YOU TO DRINK IT!’

In addition to looking stupid for falling for such an obvious ruse, Holloway is bitter and resentful because they’ve presumed all of the other Albinos are dead.  He’s upset that he couldn’t ask them some deep burning questions on his mind. totally got what you wanted--”proof” that these guys created us.  You wanna know why?  Quit your bitching!  You should be walking on Cloud 9 right now!  You should be over the moon!  You should be pulling your pants down and rubbing your bare ass in Vickers’ face because you were right and she was wrong.

After this, Holloway goes to check on Shaw.  This scene demonstrates another downfall to the movie.  While the movie asks interesting questions about God and the creation of life and stuff, it just asks the questions.  There’s never any exploration of that theme.  For example, Shaw’s character is supposed to be a devout Christian.  But, beyond occasionally touching a cross she wears and a rare line of dialog, you couldn’t tell.  Her faith never seems to inform her decisions or add to her character.  Her being Christian has as much bearing on the story as learning that Sherlock Holmes’ favorite soup is chicken noodle.

Shaw and Holloway have a very brief discussion about how these aliens created mankind.  Holloway feels this disproves God’s existence.  He says, “It shows that the creation of life isn’t very special.  This shows that anyone can create life.”  Shaw’s response is to get teary eyed, put her hand to her belly, and whisper, “...I can’t create life.”

Um...WTF?  Where did that come from?  We have no indication up to this point that she’s barren.  There aren’t any lingering glances at babies or wistful stares at tiny shoes, NOTHING to hint that she might even want kids, let alone that she can’t have them.  She’s barely been characterized as a Christian, and we just suddenly learn that she’s also barren?

Let’s play a guessing game of sorts.  You tell me, why do you think they would suddenly drop the knowledge on us that Shaw is barren and can’t have kids?  Why now?  We’re, like, halfway through the movie.  You guess, and I’ll drop down some space to give you time to guess.

Did you guess that she’s about to get pregnant with something awful?  Yes?  CONGRATULATIONS!

Do I need to even explain why this is bad writing?  It’s so sloppily executed.  If they were going to go with this storyline, it should have been worked in way earlier in the movie, not 10 minutes before that information is relevant.

Shaw and Holloway have sex, and then Holloway looks into a mirror and you see something in his eye, showing that whatever David put in his drink has infected him.

They go back into the cave to look for Geologist and Biologist.  They find Biologist dead, but Geologist is nowhere to be found.  Also, black goo is leaking out of all the urns and all over the place.  Meanwhile, David is off playing explorer again and finds what might be an Albino Man in a stasis pod, and also a star-map highlighting a route to Earth.  Holloway starts to get sick, so they all rush back to the ship.  Vickers greets them at the door with a flamethrower and says she won’t let him on the ship because he might infect the rest of the crew.  Therefore, the only logical thing to do is set him on fire, which...he agrees with.  Shaw tries to stop him, but Holloway gives Vickers the go ahead and she lights his ass up like a candle.

Shaw collapses and comes to in a medical pod where they’re scanning to make sure she’s not infected with anything as well.  Shaw learns she’s pregnant...3 months pregnant.  This shocks and horrifies her, especially because David informs her that the baby isn’t human.  

She’s desperate to get the monster fetus out of her, but David wants to put her in a stasis pod until they get back to Earth.  She escapes and uses a machine to perform a self-abortion/c-section thing.  It’s a gruesome, horrifying and genuinely well done sequence.  You can feel the panic and stress Shaw must be going through, and you empathize.  Not to mention, a do-it-yourself c-section/abortion is a fittingly horrifying thing.  It feels right at home with the chestburster scene in alien.  However, it hasn't been properly built up to--it hasn't been earned.  Prometheus isn't the same type of movie as Alien, and so at the end of it all, if feels out of place and ultimately unsatisfying.  The tone and mood of the scene is off from the rest of the movies grand, open, exploration feel.

So that's part two of my review.  We're coming up on the finale of not only this review, but the movie as well. We've seen characters act incoherently, we've seen things done just for the sake of plot, and we've seen hackneyed, unoriginal plot elements introduced in such a clumsy, obvious way, first year film students would groan.  Next time, we'll see characters continue to act inexplicably, and may have possibly become psychic.  Also, one of the stupidest deaths in cinema.

Thoughts?  Opinions?  Agree?  Disagree?  Sound off in the comments.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Comic Series That Deserves To Be Made

I don't want to flood my blog with just plugs for kickstarters, but Joe Hill has been linking to this occassionally, trying to convince people to fund it, and I would really like to see it funded as well.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that recently I've been getting into comics, a thing I wasn't able to do growing up. And as someone who's interested in comics, I would love to see this comic series get made. It's a 5 issue comic series, and it sounds awesome. If you've got a little money, please consider funding this.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nerds, Assemble!

This could be our finest hour, my fellow nerds.  For so long we have put up with sub-par Hollywood movies masquerading as "nerd friendly," while also sullying our childhoods.  If you were hurt, offended, and annoyed by Michael Bay's Transformers and the god-awful Dragonball: Evolution, this is for you.

I am a gamer.  I play Dungeons and Dragon's unashamedly.  I am a big supporter of the show Tabletop, starring the indomitable Wil Wheaton.  But the thing that really got me into games was a little movie called The Gamers: Dorkness Rising.  I got it in on Netflix back when I was in college and fell in love.  It was a micro-budget, very cheesy, and very heartfelt love letter to gaming.  It was about a group of friends that get together weekly and play D&D, and the journeys that not only their characters go through, but the players as well.  It's fun, funny, and sweet.

They're making a sequel.

I'm calling upon my legions of fans and supporters--all 12 of you!--to say:  Make this happen!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Obligatory Comic-Con 2012 Post

As some of you may recall, I wrote a post that included my thoughts on the news of various movies coming out of Comic-Con last year.  Just for the sake of completeness, I'll include a short update on that post.  Don't worry, it'll be fast.

Snow White and the Huntsman - Didn't see it.  Still looks meh.

Ghost Rider 2 - Didn't see it.  Opinion still stands: "why?"

Fright Night - Less awesome than I was expecting.  David Tennant did well, but the rest was bland, bordering on bad at times.  They tried to make Colin Farrell eating an apple menacing.

Total Recall - Reaction remains largely the same, even with trailers out now: "why?"

Spider-man - Awesome.  Go see it.

Prometheus - Review Part 2 coming soon.

Twixt, Paradise Lost, Uglies, Jurassic Park 4 - I've heard no news. Reaction stands.

So, onto this year's Comic-Con.

Oz the Great and Powerful

On the one hand, this movie looks kind of interesting.  It's an origin story for the man who becomes the Wizard of Oz--how he wound up in Oz by way of hot-air balloon.  And I admit, it certainly looks epic and action packed, and the score in the trailer is certainly interesting.  I really liked how they carried over the idea of our world being in black-and-white from the MGM movie.  And while I've read that Dorothy's iconic red slippers won't be making an appearance, I'm okay with that because they were silver in the book anyway.

With all of that being said, it's from the producers of Alice in Wonderland, and you can tell.  Everything has that soft-pastel colors look that makes it look colorful and washed-out at the same time, and while I read online that there were a lot of practical (read: "real") sets, a lot of it still looks CG, with a lot of superfluous 3D.*

For the record, I have a very similar problem with some of the effects in The Amazing Spider-man.

Anyway, my feelings are "meh."  Intrigue about the story and my fondness for Sam Raimi are conflicted with the actual look and style of the movie.

Resident Evil: Retribution

I hate the Resident Evil movies.  They're basically long action sequences with no story.  I stopped caring after the second movie and stopped watching during the third.  I only list this here to say, "Hey...this exists."  Now imagine me making a fart noise with my mouth: "Phrrrrrbbbbbbbbtttt."

I also include it so that you can read this humorous account of a fan sexually propositioning Michelle Rodriguez.  To those you out there who don't know:  Do. Not. Do. This.


I watched a lot of the old Godzilla movies growing up, including Godzilla vs. King Kong.  I even liked the remake starring Matthew Broderick, although I was in middle school and not what you would call "picky" about my movie choices.  But to hear that this movie is not only going to be a serious take on Godzilla, but that it seems to have support from Toho, seems to be paying an homage to the old movies, as well as treating the franchise with a certain amount of respect...color me intrigued.  Plus, David Goyer has proven himself time and again to be a great writer of movies.

The Hobbit

It should be no surprise that I'm excited about this movie.  I am a huge nerd.  I loved the first three movies, and I'm stoked for this one.  It is the one movie this year that I might see at midnight.  Maaaaybe not, because I'm an old man deep down inside and don't want to be jostled by overly excited teens and such...but I also love The Hobbit more than any of the other books.  It was the first of them I read--in the 6th-ish grade.

I'm very glad that Ian McKellan came back as Gandalf, and Martin Freeman is an excellent choice for Bilbo Baggins.  Also, even though it won't be in this movie, Bennedict Cumberbatch as Smaug has me very excited.  I have high hopes for this movie.

One thing that's weird to me is the backlash against it being filmed in 48 fps instead of the traditional 24 fps.  I like the smoother, hyper-real look 48 fps gives it, and I would rather see that become a thing than 3D.  Why people choose some advancements in film making and not others, I'll never understand.  Anyway, it should be expected that I'm excited for this one.

Pacific Rim

This is Guillermo Del Toro's movie about giant fighting robots I mentioned last year.  I maintain that it could be a dream come true for the 10-year-old inside of me, but as time has progressed, I'm a little worried.  I'm weary of high-effects-CG-laden movies.  Transformers: Blah Blah Blah and the disappointing Real Steel have cooled my initial reaction at giant fighting robots, and Del Toro's largely disappointing Don't Be Afraid of the Dark has me less excited for PR than I started.

It still sounds fun, and I love Pan's Labrynth and Hellboy, so I'll maintain a modicum of hope for now.  Plus, Idris Elba is in it, and he was one of my favorite things about Prometheus.

Incidentally, Del Toro is finally looking into making Hellboy 3, which makes me want to get up and race around the house with excitement.  Fingers crossed on that one.

Various Marvelousness

Things continue to look up for Marvel.  Besides the massive hit that was The Avengers, basically all of their movies have been pretty big hits, with a few exceptions.  The Amazing Spider-man has been doing pretty well, even, despite some of the negativity surrounding yet another reboot.  Because there was so much news coming out of the Marvel camp, I've shoved it all in this section.

Captain America: Winter Soldier was announced.  I liked the first film, and this one certainly seems interesting.  From what I read here, it seems to be about a former friend of Captain America being resurrected to try to assassinate him.  S.H.I.E.L.D. is supposed to feature prominently, which might mean more Black Widow--and I really want to see her have her own picture in the near future.  We need more female superheroes making it onto the scene.

Thor: The Dark World was also announced.  While I'm excited about that, I'm not as excited as I could be because I haven't seen Thor, although it is on Netflix Instant, so I'll probably watch that soon.  I only hope that there's more Loki, as he was fantastic in The Avengers.

Iron Man 3 was also previewed.  I'm really interested in this movie, not just because I liked the first one (have not seen the second one), but also because it's being helmed by Shane Black.  I LOVE his movie Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, another movie featuring Robert Downey, Jr., and so this news has me intrigued and excited.  Apparently it was revealed that Mandarin is the villain (I don't know who that is), and they revealed Tony Stark's new Iron Man armor.  Some people bitched that it's mostly gold, but I don't really care.  It is surprising that they're breaking from the more traditional red top, gold bottom look, but I'm rather ambivalent.  It looks pretty nice.

The announcement of the Ant-Man movie was also confirmed.  Ant-Man is a superhero that can shrink down to near subatomic sizes.  Not the most flashy superpower--hardly super strength or speed--but quirky and slightly odd superheroes are right up director Edgar Wright's alley.  He's done Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, so I'm confident in his ability to do this.  Based on what I read on Simon Pegg's Twitter, once they've finished up work on The World's End, Wright will begin filming in 2013.

And the last interesting bit of news regarding Marvel is their announcement for a movie called Guardians of the Galaxy.  I know basically nothing about this, except for the concept art that was released, which I've included (click to enlarge).  I'll have a better opinion once I know a bit more.

Man of Steel

If you've followed my blog for a while, you'll know I'm a HUGE fan of Superman.  I wrote a reaction post to the news of Zach Snyder's Man of Steel, in which I explained my background with the red and blue superhero and what I thought of the movie news so far.  In summation: it was positive.

With that said, the news gets more and more interesting.  The picture in my previous post had me excited, but hid a key factor that I was not aware of--they got rid of Superman's red underwear.

On one hand, GOOD.  It looked silly.  Batman doesn't have the dark gray/black underwear in his movies, and his character was designed with the same idea, so why should Superman?  Besides, this is a gritty, Nolan-esque reboot.  Let's shoot for a more practical suit design. On the other hand, look at it (below).  Without the red in the middle, I kind of don't know where to look.  Also, not to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but I know from watching the behind-the-scenes stuff for Superman Returns that they did research on"package size" for Superman, to ensure that he wasn't too big or too small, because either would be distracting.  They apparently had no such concerns for this movie, because Superman looks like he's hauling a cannon around in his underoos.

I wish they'd taken after the comics, which also got rid of Superman's red underwear; however, they provided him instead with a red belt, which breaks the costume up in the same way as the underwear without looking as silly. You can see the image of Superman from DC's New 52 alongside the movie costume below.

I'll leave it to you to decide which looks better.  To be clear, I don't HATE the costume, unlike some, I just wish there'd been a little more break-up of the blue.  I don't even hate that the costume is made to be like Kryptonian chain-mail.  It all works for me.

Beyond the costume, there was, of course, more news regarding the new movie.  They released an extended cut of the trailer.  A bootleg was put online, but has since been taken down, so I haven't seen it.  There's supposed to be a shorter teaser before The Dark Knight Rises, yet another reason I have to go see that movie.

And from what I've heard, Snyder did a great job.  Some accounts disagree about the use of slow-mo, but all seem to agree that the movie is the least Snyder-looking of all of his films--which is a good thing in my opinion.  Too much slowdown would be really annoying.  It was okay in Watchmen, but 300 had it A LOT.

I'm glad that things seem to be shaping up well for this film, because Sucker Punch was awful, and I've been worried that Snyder might not be the guy for the job.  However, the film looks great, and I can't wait to see it.  For a breakdown of the trailer, go here.  For a few more articles about the movie itself, go here and here and here.

One final bit of info:  according to this article, this movie will attempt to make DC feel like an extended universe, like the Marvel movies did.  Particularly, they want to build up Wonder Woman.  Whether that means she'll get her own movie (hope so, see above thoughts on female superhero movies), or just a build up for the Justice League movie, it's interesting.  Here's hoping DC can get their act together and start showing Marvel a bit of competition, because so far it's been almost pathetic.

Dr. Horrible 2

Joss Whedon is a geek god.  He's the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Cabin in the Woods, as well as the writer and director of The Avengers.  One of my favorites that he's produced has to be Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  It was created on a whim during the writers' strike and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and geek goddess Felicia Day.  It was a very short film (something like 45 minutes) and was released in 3 parts--divided by its three acts.  I think it's still available on Netflix Instant.  Go watch it now.

Fans have been clamoring for a sequel because the ending is...well...left open.  And after years of waiting and getting teased with "we're all just too busy, but we're working on it in our spare time" and "we've got some songs written, just waiting for the time to be right" we finally got some news on the sequel.  From G4TV:

The other big reveal that Whedon kicked off the panel with was the sequel for the online musical comedy, Dr. Horrible. Finally! Here's what we learned: production for Dr. Horrible 2 will start sometime in the spring, and they've been working on it for the past couple of years. The CW will also air Dr. Horrible in its entirety for its big television premiere! (See, people? You can find success on the Internet and then bring it to the big screen!)
(For those of you Browncoats, click this link to see the entire 10th anniversary Firefly panel if you love awesome things and/or want to see Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion cry.)


Jesus Flippin' Christ riding a dinosaur, are you serious??  Are you serious???  Yes!

I had recently read John Scalzi's newest novel Redshirts (which is fantastic and you totally need to pick it up).  There was a quote on the cover from an author named Joe Hill.  I kept hearing that name everywhere--especially from Scalzi.  In fact, Hill blurbed a lot of Scalzi's work.  It was clear that Scalzi thought a lot of Joe Hill's work, so I decided to give him a try.  While looking up books by him, I learned he's also Stephen King's son.  Stephen King has had a huge influence on me

This was the push over the edge.  I had to check him out.  So, I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up his novel Horns.   Here's the summary:
Merrin Williams is dead, slaughtered under inexplicable circumstances, leaving her beloved boyfriend Ignatius Perrish as the only suspect. On the first anniversary of Merrin's murder, Ig spends the night drunk and doing awful things. When he wakes the next morning he has a thunderous hangover . . . and horns growing from his temples. Ig possesses a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre gift he intends to use to find the monster who killed his lover. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. Now it's time for revenge . . .
It's time the devil had his due. . . .

Needless to say, the book was fantastic, a taut thrill ride.  However, just like his dad, Hill is really good at characterization. Both of them write more than just plot-driven stories; their characters read like real people.  I fell in love with Merrin and felt my heart break with Ig.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw:


Now, as excited as I am about this news, I looked up Alexandre Aja to see what movies he's directed.  Mirrors, The Hills Have Eyes remake, and Piranha remake.  I loved this book, and I really want this to be a good adaption, so I will have faith in this film.  I liked Mirrors...okay, and I've heard good things about Piranha--it's a cheesy horror-movie call back to the 80's.

I know that was a lot to read.  If you stuck it out this far, give yourself a gold star.  So, what do you think of the news that funneled out of Sand Diego?  Do any of these projects interest or excite you, or is there anything that happened that I didn't mention that you'd like to talk about?  Is there anything that doesn't excite you, or that I didn't mention that you'd like to complain about?  Let's continue this discussion in the comments.


* Don't get me started on 3D.  The same effect that's in Alice in Wonderland of the Mad Hatter throwing his top hat at the camera shows up in this movie.  Every damn movie these days has to throw shit at the screen.  All of those people that keep saying 3D is the future clearly don't pay attention to history.  It was around in the 30's, it was around in the 50's, it was around in the 80's, and it's back again.  I really hope it goes away soon.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Flash Fiction Challenge: The Android and the Wondering Chamber

It's that time again!  Chuck Wendig, over at Terribleminds, as posted a Flash Fiction Challenge.  This time we have to start a story using this sentence:

“The noticed android walks past a wondering chamber.”

As always, the rules are no more than 1000 words.  Below is my entry into the fray, which clocks in at 986.  Enjoy.  If you have compliments--and especially if you have criticisms--post them in the comments below.  I'm always looking to improve my craft.

Photo by: Los Paseos

The Wondering Chamber

The noticed android walks past a wondering chamber.  Everyone stares, mouths agape, while he marches up to the front desk.  The Cassandra Corp receptionist hasn’t seen him yet; she is busy talking on her headset phone.  The android waits for her to finish her phone call.  

Various brightly colored posters adorn the wall.  One features a little girl of color grinning, her two front teeth missing.  The poster reads, “Cassandra Corp’s wondering chamber will let me see what I should be when I grow up.”  Another features a pudgy man sitting on the couch next to an angry looking woman.  Arms crossed, brow furrowed, lips pursed, she looks away from him at the wall.  The man shrugs at the camera and below him the caption reads, “Thanks to Cassandra Corp, I can see whether we should have gotten married.”

The receptionist’s phone call ends, but she doesn’t turn to engage the android.

“Excuse me, I would like the use of a wondering chamber,” he says once she has finished.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I simply would like access to a wondering chamber.  I have money.”  As he says this, he places a card down on the counter.  “You will find 5000 credits on there.  That should be plenty.”

The woman stares at the card for a moment before turning back to the computer.

“Wondering chambers are not intended for android use.  Cassandra Corp is dedicated to the finest services possible; however, it is against company policy as well as the functionality of the chambers themselves, to service an android.  Many apologies and please have a nice day.”  

Her voice is flat and she doesn’t look at him while she speaks.

“Is there any way you could reconsid--”

The woman whirls to face him.  Her eyes are steel.  Her mouth is pressed into a tight line.

“If you don’t turn around and leave now, I will call security and report you as malfunctioning.  I’ll call for your immediate deactivation.  Do you understand me?”

He nods and turns to leave.  The other receptionists and customers have turned back to what they were doing, but he hears their whispered remarks.  

“Uppity androids.”

“What does he think he is, a human?”

A wondering chamber to his left comes open with a hiss, a giant metal egg cracking open.  The person inside stumbles out, trembling.  His eyes are wide.  His face is pale.  He slides to the ground next to the chamber and runs a hand through his hair.  When his eyes fall upon the android, he lets out a shriek and claws at the floor.

“Get that freak away from me!  He killed me!  He killed me!”

The android feels people grabbing his arms, forcing them behind his back.  He could easily throw them off and free himself, but he doesn’t.  The man in front of the wondering chamber begins rocking himself and weeping.

Downtown, the police question him for hours.  One officer, a young, fit man with sandy brown hair, leans onto the table and glares at the android over small, stylish glasses.

“How do you know that man?  Have you ever met him before?”

The android accesses his memory banks and runs a facial recognition scan, but turns up no results.

The second officer, a barrel-chested, older officer, scratches his graying beard and leans against the wall, crossing his arms.

“What were you doing trying to access a wondering chamber?”

“My programming does not prevent me from seeking out extracurricular activities.  I merely wanted to engage in a fantasy.”

“What could you possibly want to fantasize about?  Is there a usb port you want to plug into?  A little data exchange?” the younger one asks.

The android smiles.  “I wanted to experience what it was like to be human.”

The older officer sneers.  “You’ll never know what it’s like to be human.  You gotta have a soul for that.  You’re an appliance, an overly advanced toaster oven.”

“I am curious why we are still engaged in this.  We’ve established I’ve never encountered the man, and wondering chambers are simply dreams, correct?”

They eventually let him go.  The wondering chambers are simply for wondering.  They can’t use fantasies as evidence, even against androids.  As he leaves the station, a commercial for Cassandra Corp comes on their television screen.

As he turns a corner, someone shouts, “Hey!  You!”

The android turns and sees the man from the wondering chamber approaching him.  He has two friends with them.  They’re all wearing bulky hoodies.  The android realizes that it’s cold out.  He looks down at his synthetic skin, at his bare arms.  Perhaps a t-shirt was not the appropriate attire for this time of year.

“Why did you kill me, huh?” the man shouts.  

He rushes up to the android and begins pushing his chest.  The android doesn’t budge--he’s too heavy to be pushed.  That doesn’t stop the man.  He continues pushing the android in the chest over and over again, while his friends circle them, leering at the android and whispering insults.  From inside their hoodies, they pull out metal pipes.

The first blow connects with his shoulder.  He doesn’t think it does any internal damage, merely tears his synthetic skin.  The second blow is to his back.  Nothing.  The third blow, however, is at the base of his head.  HIs vision stutters and for a second he is blind.  He stumbles and steps on one of the men’s toes.  He hears the crunch of bones and the man howls in pain.  He tries to apologize but a blow to the throat disengages his voice box.

The man from the wondering chamber charges forward.  The android steps aside to dodge, but the man trips over the android’s foot and flies into the street at the same time as an oncoming bus.  The android hears the man’s bones crunch under the tires and looks away.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Twitter! Embarrass Yourself in Front of Celebrities!

So, as you may or may not know, I have a Twitter account--although if you didn’t know, it takes only an eye flick to the right to confirm that.  I post random things that are on my mind.  Some are kind of funny, some are kind of boring, and some are retweets from people whom are much smarter and more clever than I am.

For those of you not on Twitter, they have these things that show up in your Twitter-feed called “promoted tweets.”  These are not actually tweets, really--they’re advertisements that have paid to show up in your feed.  But, since part of twitter is retweeting what others tweet, you may not recognize it for what it is at first.

I was bebopping along, minding my own business, when a couple of tweets in my feed caught my eye.  It just so happened both of them were from Amazon.  At first, I thought they were just promoted, but promoted tweets say they are at the bottom.  These said they were retweeted by a couple of cool cats I follow--Chuck Wendig and Wil Wheaton.

You could say I was confused.  

For example, Mr. Wendig’s online persona is that of a bristly uncle--offering genuinely helpful advice wrapped in a rough, sweary package.  Like a good Samaritan grizzly bear.  However, being familiar with the show, Gilmore Girls did not seem like his type of show.  I realize I was ascribing cliched and typical gender roles to him and the show, and I know better than that, but all the same, it seemed like he would be into something with a little more grit.  Once again, painting with a simplistic brush, I know.
Meanwhile, Wil Wheaton is a very funny guy, so I thought maybe he was making a joke that I just wasn’t getting--maybe something to do with smoking pot and listening to Dark of the Moon while watching Wizard of Oz?  But the more I thought about it, the more odd it seemed.

I’d seen accounts get hacked and tweet odd things before--hell, Neil Gaiman’s has been hacked like that, and with Cisco locking you out of your internet unless you consent toyour internet use being spied on and possibly controlled, I don’t think Twitter would have allowed big companies to buy the ability to retweet using your account, do you?

Soon, I had the whole conspiracy in my head.

 [I’m like A Beautiful Mind...only considerably worse at math]

I decided, I’d turn it into a joke.  I tweeted “@wilw and @ChuckWendig just retweeted promotions from Amazon, which I don't think they’d do.  Amazon, be you spammin’ and scammin’?”

What was going through my mind at the time was, If their accounts did get compromised or something, I’m sure they’ll be glad to know.  And if it was legit, they’ll probably just ignore my tweets--if they even notice them.  They are pretty famous, afterall.

I took screen caps of the suspect tweets, just to be safe.

Apparently, I fancy myself a regular Sergeant Friday of Twitter or something.
I was going to go about my day as normal when I saw Mr. Wendig’s response.

 And then the worry-rats began to feast upon my brain.

See, on the one hand, I wanted them to know if something was up.  On the other hand...I had the sneaking suspicion that I had just made an ass of myself.

So, I tweeted to him a screen cap of the tweet in question and said something along the lines of, “If this is legit, I’m really sorry.  I just don’t normally see these unless they’re promoted.”

I couldn’t @ reply Wil Wheaton in that one, but I made sure to tag both of them in the follow up, where I linked to the screen cap of his tweet and said, “Here’s the other one, too.”

And then I saw this:


I quickly sent a follow-up tweet (pictured above) apologising again.  Then, to permanently erase my mistakes from the internet, and in the hopes to keep the same thing from happening again if/when Wil Wheaton saw the tweets, I quickly went through and deleted the offending tweets, kicking myself all the while.

I backed away from the computer as the reality of what I’d done hit me.

So, after deleting all evidence of my dumbassery,I of course felt the need to share my misadventures with the world.  If you can't laugh about things like this, what can you do?  I'm sure they pretty much immediately forgot about it, but it's always nice to know that I can be such a sparkling example of cool and collected in front of people I look up to.

And, if Chuck Wendig or Wil Wheaton happen to be reading this (not likely, but AS YOU CAN SEE, I have a knack for these sorts of things), I would like to just apologise again.  I offer you this picture of the two of you battling internet trolls to make up for that.